The organisation holds meetings, known as the ASEAN Summit, where heads of government of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to conduct other meetings with other countries outside of the bloc with the intention of promoting external relations.
The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manila in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years. Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years. In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Myanmar which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.
The formal summit meets for three days. The usual itinerary is as follows:
-Leaders of member states would hold an internal organization meeting.
-Leaders of member states would hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
-A meeting, known as ASEAN Plus Three, is set for leaders of three Dialogue Partners (People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea)
-A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is set for another set of leaders of two Dialogue Partners (Australia, New Zealand).
-East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia and the region, with ASEAN in a leadership position. Russia has applied for membership and as of 2005, attends on observer status. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on December 14, 2005 and subsequent meetings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting
-ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is an informal multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2006, it is consisted of 26 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all ASEAN Member Countries, Australia, Canada, People's Republic of China, European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, United States, and Bangladesh.
Aside from the ones above, other regular meetings are also held. These include the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as well as other smaller committees, such as the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. Meetings mostly focus on specific topics, such as defense or the environment, and are attended by Ministers, instead of heads of government.
-ASEAN Plus Three
The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea, and is primarily held during each ASEAN Summit.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996, bringing together the European Union and the ASEAN Plus Three groupings.
The ASEAN-Russia Summit is a meeting between leaders member states and the President of Russia.